Beholder has proven to be one of the best of her generation, but her story could have a very different ending if a fever hadn’t knocked her out late in the fall of 2014. The two-time champion was preparing to defend her title in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff when she developed a 104 degree fever that not only kept her out of the race, but also kept her from being sold at that year’s Fasig-Tipton November sale.
Beholder’s owner B. Wayne Hughes and Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella made the decision to give her the time she needed to recover and kept her in training for a 2015 campaign. Her victory over males in the 2015 TVG Pacific Classic, the first win by a female in the race's 25-year history, was one of the best performances of the year by a racehorse.
But misfortune struck again. Her owners could have easily retired their multiple champion again when she was forced to miss the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic with a minor illness, missing a chance to face American Pharoah, but once again they decided to keep her in training with an eye on North America’s richest race at her home track at Santa Anita this November.
Those decisions look brilliant now after the 6-year-old Henny Hughes mare appears to have only gotten better with age. She rode an eight-race win streak into the Clement Hirsch, where she was narrowly defeated by Stellar Wind, and then ran second in the Pacific Classic against a dominating California Chrome.
Beholder proved to be very special early on. She won the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and was named Champion 2-year-old filly. The following year she became the second horse to win two different Breeders’ Cup races when she took the Distaff over a talented field to earn her second straight Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly. When she was voted Champion Older Dirt Female horse of 2015, she became the first female horse to win three Eclipse Awards.